SEMINOLE — The city’s signature event of the year has been postponed, allowing organizers to create a safe and healthy environment for festival-goers.
Pow Wow, typically held in March, has been rescheduled to take place May 7-9.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to be the drunk uncle of area events, as city leaders and residents alike wish it would hurry up and pass out so the fun and frivolity can once again be center stage.
“I feel like we are full circle at this point,” said Becky Gunter, Seminole’s recreation director. “We’re coming up on the year mark. This time last year we had to cancel it.”
But this year, instead of canceling the city’s highest revenue generator, Gunter and her staff are working to create a COVID safety plan that would allow the annual festival to continue.
According to a post on the city’s Facebook page, some of the safeguards will include:
• Masks must be worn by all eventgoers over the age of two.
• Each rider must use hand sanitizer prior to getting on the carnival rides.
• Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the festival grounds.
• Mask and social distancing signage will be placed throughout the grounds.
• The grounds will be spread out a much as possible, ensuring social distancing.
• The fairgrounds will be marked with signage to remind those to social distance when queuing for lines.
Although the show will go on, COVID-19 did claim two casualties — the annual Pow Wow parade and fireworks display.
“We had to make a strategic decision,” Gunter said, adding that the cancellations were made in an effort to discourage large gatherings, which typically occur during the two events.
Because festivals often take many months to plan, Gunter said she didn’t want her staff to throw themselves into planning the March event, only for it to be postponed or canceled.
Gunter said making the move to May will allow for seasonal staff to get on board and allow organizers to create the safest environment possible for attendees.
Gunter credits City Manager Ann Toney-Deal and Seminole city council members for making the change possible.
“It’s really great to have that kind of support,” Gunter said.